Most Beautiful Places In California You Didn't Know Existed

Most Beautiful Places in California You Didn't Know Existed

The Golden State is known for Hollywood, basketball champions, beaches, nice weather year-round, and horrible traffic in Los Angeles, among other things. It is not necessarily travelers' first choice for adventures, unless they head to national parks. But even they hide some incredible gems.

Lake Berryessa’s “Glory Hole”

The full name is Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway. The mysterious hole, which has been called many things, including a portal into hell or a fourth dimension, is simply a huge drain. It is a 72-foot-wide concrete funnel.  This January and February, after a lot of rain, for the first time since 2006, the lake in the Napa Valley area maxed out its water capacity. The hole was sucking down the excess.

Glass Beach

The name comes from the smooth colorful glass pieces on the pebbly beach. The site was once a trash dump so broken bottles from garbage cans of local residents are now little treasures to be found, according to California Beaches. It is illegal to remove any glass from there.

Bowling Ball Beach

See the enigmatic round rocks of Schooner Gulch. The beach is not visible from Highway 1 and the sign is small and easy to miss, which is perhaps why many people may not even know about the unique beach. It's a short walk from the highway. It's named after the round boulders (known as concretions) that are uncovered at low tide because they look like gigantic bowling balls.

Cypress Tree Tunnel

The trees were planted around 1930, according to NPS. The Monterey cypress now create the "tree tunnel" at the Point Reyes Receiving Station. They are located at what is now the park's North District Operations Center. The trees that literally grow into a tunnel over the road are not on the park map though.

Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery

Mount Whitney is very famous, but the gorgeous fish catcher not so much. To get there, go on Highway 395 about 2 miles north of Independence; turn west at sign, go about 1 mile to hatchery in Inyo County. Being there feel like you're in a fairytale-like small European town. The shady grounds and main pond are ideal for relaxing or having a picnic.

Bristle Cone Pine Forrest

It is home to some of the oldest trees in the world; some of which are older than 4,000 years, according to the USDA. The Patriarch Tree is located in this forest; it is the world's largest Bristlecone Pine. Visitors enjoy hiking through the forest, picnicking and nature viewing.

Alamere Falls

This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls you can actually swim in. Alamere Falls is a gorgeous waterfall deep within the Phillip Burton Wilderness.  It cascades over a 30-foot tall cliff onto the south end of Wildcat Beach. It takes a 7-mile hike to get there.

Painted Canyons

This is perfect hike for the family. The hill and canyon walls range in color from pink and red to gray, brown and green. It is a stunning sight. You will go up and down a few ladders through a few crevices and down onto the canyon floor, but the views are absolutely stunning. Most people on TripAdvisor say the trek is worth it. Make sure, however, that you have good hiking shoes.

Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell is the largest hydrothermal area in the Lassen Volcanic National Park. The temperature of high-velocity steam jetting from Big Boiler, the largest fumarole in the park, has been measured as high as 322°F, making it one of the hottest fumaroles in the world, according to NPS.  The steam heated waters are typically acidic and are not safe, even for bathing.

Nitt Witt Ridge

You have to visit this castle on a hill to believe it exists. Sitting on 2.5 acres, this folk-art attraction offers a Tom Sawyer-like feel from the moment you step onto the property, according to Visit Cambria. Make sure you look very closely. You may be surprised to see a mixture of native materials and modern elements, such as old beer cans, washer drums, car parts, and others.


This is one of America's best beach towns, certainly one of the Golden State's most gorgeous secrets. Most people just drive by it along Highway 101 without even seeing it. Make some time to explore the quaint town and try the wine at the wine-tasting room. See the historic Old Cayucos Tavern, which was built as a cowboy bar back in 1906.

Cabrillo National Monument

This is where you should go for the best views of San Diego's harbor and skyline. A statue and museum in the visitor center commemorate Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's exploration of the coast of California. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed at San Diego Bay in 1542. The event marked the first time that a European expedition had set foot on what later became the west coast of the U.S.